The Weber State University men’s basketball team took care of business Thursday, defeating Southern Utah University 75-55 in a battle of two teams heading in two different directions.
The win improved the Wildcats’ record to 14-7 overall and their Big Sky leading record to 11-2. Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds lost their 21st-straight game after winning the first game of the season.
Coach Randy Rahe said he liked what he saw from his team in a must-win game, as the Wildcats are poised to host the Big Sky Conference tournament if they can maintain this level of play in some tough road games. Rahe said turnovers were a concern, but he liked his players’ execution and how they were able to fend off the Thunderbirds.
“We came out with really good energy in the first half and really shot the ball well,” Rahe said. “We let them come back a little bit in the second half, but finished strong and were able to find a way to win.”
Davion Berry continued his hand as he lit up the Thunderbirds for 23 points, which means he has scored 20 or more points in eight of his last nine games. He also shot 7 of 10 from the field while adding a smooth four rebounds and three assists.
“We got after it tonight, especially in rebounding and on defense,” Berry said. “We had some turnovers that let them make a run, but we responded well and moved the ball really well.”
Kyle Tresnak was the only other Wildcat in double figures, scoring 12 while shooting 6 of 7 from the field. Joel Bolomboy, who has been on an absolute tear on the glass, added nine points and nine rebounds. Bolomboy’s superior glass play has played a huge role in allowing the Wildcats to distance themselves from the rest of the Big Sky competition.
“We needed that good start — you can’t give the home team any momentum,” Rahe said. “We planned to get on them early, and the players did a great job at that. We needed to pressure them and we did that; that pressure affects a young team like them.”
Two of the contributors who gave the Wildcats energy off the bench were freshmen Kyndahl Hill and Richaud Gittens. Hill made an immediate impact by knocking down some perimeter shots, while Gittens added extra pressure on defense.
The bench has played an important role for the Wildcats. Rahe said he knows this needs to continue if they are to return to the NCAA tournament.
“I thought (Hill) did a great job, and if he had not picked up three fouls he would have played more,” Rahe said. “Those threes that he hit were big for us. He gave us a jolt off the bench. With that being said, I was pleased with the bench’s performance in general.”
The Wildcats will now head up to Missoula, Mont., to take on the Grizzlies of the University of Montana. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will be available on 103.1 FM or 1430 AM, and on the Big Sky mobile app.